Mountain Valley: 30 years of making dreams come true |

Mountain Valley: 30 years of making dreams come true

Chyrise HarrisPost Independent Staff

After 30 years of granting wishes, employees at Mountain Valley Developmental Services can close their eyes, take a breath and make a wish of their own.On their 30th birthday Mountain Valley staff members simply wish to continue improving the lives of developmentally disabled individuals by making dreams come true.The past 30 years gave employees the opportunity to watch clients like Neil Gantzel work a dream job and witness women like Beth Will and Heather Long live independently and give back to the same community that accepts them for everything they are, and one day aspire to be.Neil, Beth and Heathers stories offer a tiny peak into the monumental impact Mountain Valley staff continue to make in the lives of developmentally disabled individuals.For those of us who get to feel that were able to make a difference in peoples lives and get to see that difference, its incredibly rewarding, executive director Bruce Christensen said. In 1973 a group of parents and volunteers decided that developmentally disabled individuals deserved the same respect and right to independent living as anyone else in the country. Two years later volunteers grew their vision into what is now an incorporated nonprofit organization with employees dedicated to helping developmentally disabled persons reach their dreams and grasp a sense of independence others often take for granted.Why would over 120 employees devote themselves to making dreams come true? Its just the Mountain Valley way, employee Laura Ayers said. Coincidentally, the community support Mountain Valley has received in order to make those dreams come true must also be the valley way, Christensen said. Ive never seen a community thats as supportive of people with disabilities as Glenwood and Carbondale, Christensen said.In celebration of Mountain Valleys 30th anniversary, Christensen said, We want to thank all the people who have helped us become what we are. We want to let them know what weve become and where were going, he said. Part of the journey ahead includes making sure Mountain Valley can provide housing for anyone employees meet along the way.Though Mountain Valley currently sets up independent living spaces for 75 people, 74 more names appear on a waiting list for open spaces. Christensen said a 148-year waiting list to serve their clients is unacceptable.Like the character of so many people Mountain Valley serves, Christensen said the staffs determination to continue changing and improving lives will never go away, especially living in this valley.Weve got the drive to make sure were doing good, he said. And in a small town people like to help.Mountain Valley Developmental Services 30th Anniversary Celebration 3-6 p.m. Friday, July 15Mountain Valley Developmental Services700 Mount Sopris Drive, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602How to support Mountain Valley Developmental ServicesDonations can be mailed to Mountain Valley Developmental ServicesP.O. Box 338 Glenwood Springs CO, 81602

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